Friday, March 20, 2015

Shadow Puppet APP: Great for Student Story Telling Projects (Early Grades AND Higher)

Here's an easy, great way for students tell stories and to have a permanent, re-playable performance of their telling it. Students  use a digital  resource to present pictures sequentially, having put them in an order they devise to tell the story. They also record their own narration that accompanies each of the slides. Students can use either pictures they create on their own by drawing or photography OR pictures they appropriate from the Internet.

I've done projects like this over the years using PowerPoint, which works fine. Students insert a picture into each slide and PowerPoint allows them to record their voice, narrating the 'action' (story segment) on that slide separately to accompany the image. They can also keyboard in the text of their narration if they choose, as well. All of this works great, but there's a bit of a steep learning curve for both teacher and students and it can be a bit labor intensive.

Now, however, with Shadow Puppet APP this has become easier and I think much more do-able for  younger children. Take a look at a blog post from colleague, Cathy Knutson  who explains in detail how she uses this approach with 2nd Graders at Oak Hills Elementary Media Center (I love to see these things successfully done with young students!)

See the video and article below for some more info on Shadow Puppet, too.

"Shadow Puppet Is A New Storytelling App For Sharing Narrated Slideshows Of Your Photos"

"Storytelling today means crowding around someone’s phone as they describe their photos. Shadow Puppet bring that show & tell experience online by letting you share a voice-over with an animated slideshow of your pics. Built with Greylock money by Carl Sjogreen, the Googler who sold travel startup Nextstop to Facebook, Shadow Puppet let you talk people through everything from vacations to app demos.

The free iOS app combines the ease of taking great photos with the movement, audio and storytelling strengths of video. Most of us can’t film, act or direct very well, so our Vines and Instagram videos come out crappy. But anyone can make a compelling Shadow Puppet — even kids.
That’s because it’s a natural behavior, something we actually do a lot already. “Shadow Puppet really started with this simple observation: Every time we’d go out to a park or restaurant with friends, someone would get out their phone and start telling a story based on the photos on their phone,” Sjogreen explains. “It’s quite a powerful way to communicate an idea, but there was no way to replicate that experience when you weren’t with someone in person...”

"... You’re The Puppeteer
Here’s how Shadow Puppet Works:
  1. Pick a set of photos from any album on your device.
  2. Drag-and-drop to reorder them, and crop them so they look right.
  3. Record your audio voice-over providing the story behind the photos.
  4. Tap and zoom to highlight points of interest as you go through pics.
  5. Text, email, tweet, or Facebook your Shadow Puppet narrated slide show’s permalink.
  6. Friends and followers can watch your Shadow Puppet even if they don’t have the app.
The creation experience is quick, simple, intuitive and even kind of fun, as you can see in this demo. The little yellow flashes that appear when you tap as you record do a great job of letting you digitally point to things in your photos, and making them viewable through a web player will help the app grow. When you’re talking, you feel like a voice actor. You just need to remember to be vibrant like you’re on stage even though no one can see you..."

Read the full article at its source:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kinectic Conundrum: Fantastic Tech-supported Art Project for Kids that Provides a Perfect Model of STEAM Instruction

STEAM Instruction = Science -Technology - Engineering - Arts - Mathematics Instruction
See this article for definition and explanation of STEAM>>>

Anatomy of a Project: "Kinetic Conundrum"

Art, history, engineering, language arts, and technology, both old and new, come together for eighth grade students in this rich project learning expedition at King Middle School in Portland, Maine.
From edutopia


Friday, March 13, 2015

Supporting Kids in Developing Their Creativity and Learning Creative Skills - Using Open Source Resources

Just came across this article... Looks like this group,  Youth Digital,  makes an important niche segment of Visual Art Learning available at a very accessible cost. Some great ideas  here - a fascinating read...

Image by :
"Open source tools help kids discover digital creativity

Youth Digital just moved into their new offices, tucked away in a nondescript office park in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It's a big step up from their humble beginnings, when company founder and director Justin Richards hauled a laptop to his students' houses, tutoring them on web and graphic design. Their first office was barely more than a closet, and now they have an expansive space complete with conference rooms, recording studio space, and their own 3D printer.

Teaching kids about graphic design and programming without using open source software would be prohibitively expensive. As I learned during my visit to the studio's new office, cost isn't the only reason why Richards and his team use open source tools. The freedom of creating custom application packages for their students and the opportunity to improve the software that they use means that everyone learns with the same easy-to-use technology. It doesn't matter whether they're sitting in a classroom in Chapel Hill or tuning in to Youth Digital's online courses halfway around the world.
I talked with Richards about the curriculum's open source approach, his company's humble beginnings, and how they hope to help kids all over the world learn skills that will provide better, richer opportunities as they become adults.

Let's start at the beginning. What got you into technology and design?

Toy Story, pretty much. When I was a kid, Toy Story came out. When I saw that, it was so awesome. My dad was a computer programmer and I loved art and computers, and to see the potential to tell a story through 3D models was insane. I wanted to learn how to do it, and there was nowhere to learn it. All I could find were videos on YouTube about Flash animation. So I tried that, learned a little ActionScript, and did not like that. It wasn't Pixar, obviously.
So I looked at game design and couldn't find a lot of stuff. Then I went into web design and found this big book on CSS and HTML. I scoured YouTube and forums and spent hours of frustration making a website. I built it from start to finish, and that was such a great learning experience....


What called you to become a teacher?

I never necessarily wanted to be a teacher, actually, but I love teaching web design. In St. Louis, we were given these massive, poorly written binders, and I was supposed to teach thirty 8 year-olds web design with them. So we put those away, and instead, I wrote a website really quick, and changed the curriculum so that by the end of the first day, the kids had their homepage, and by the last day of the class, they published it. Every one of our courses since then has been built around that idea: do something tangible on the first day, and on the last day, publish it. Just to give that sense of a real world project.

What sort of tools do the kids use in your courses?

We want something that will give the kids that authentic, professional skillset, but also something that doesn't cost them a thousand dollars or is too intense for them. We've gravitated toward open source tools that mirror professional standards. We use Gimp, Inkscape, Eclipse, and Blender. We use Blender because other tools are $3,500. Some offer educational discounts, but a lot of our kids don't have the correct credentials to get the free version of, say, Autodesk. And we love Blender, because not only can we customize it for those young kids, but we can also make it so that it mirrors anything else they'd use in the industry. If you learn the pen tool in Inkscape, that's the same pen tool in Illustrator or any other vector program you'd use.
Overall, we're more focused on teaching kids the fundamentals of design and development as opposed to how to use a certain type of software. Depending on where you work and who you work for, the software's going to be different, or the language will be different..."

Read the full article at its source: